In a previous post, we discussed when a postpartum Mom could safely return to running. Now, we will discuss the how!
A quick review: it is recommended that a postpartum Mom return to running between 3-6 months post-partum as long as they don’t have symptoms prior to, during, or following attempted running/exercise. Symptoms that tell you to DELAY returning to running (and check-in with a pelvic floor physical therapist) include:
If running is your goal, you do not need to wait until 3 months to begin to prepare your body for high impact exercise.
It is safe to begin kegels within the first week of delivery (once the catheter is removed) to begin strengthening your pelvic floor. Also in those first few weeks, think about engaging your core muscles while doing functional things such as lifting your baby out of the crib or getting up from a chair- every time you get up/sit down you are performing a squat!
When medically cleared by your OB (typically around 6 weeks), start a low impact cardiovascular program such as power walking or stationary biking. Add resistance training. A good rule of thumb is to start light- initially think no more than the weight of your baby in a car seat, then progress as you are able. For running, you need to strengthen your hips particularly- think squats, bridges, leg lifts and lunges (and remember that all this should be done without the above symptoms).
Now is it time to start running? CAN YOU:
If the answer is YES to all of these without experiencing any symptoms, you are ready to try running! When you do:
What about running with a stroller?
Safety first! Always go by manufacturer specifications, as most do not recommend jogging with a baby until the baby is at least 6-9 months old to protect the baby’s development. When you do run with a stroller, your speed and stride length will be less then when running alone. Therefore it takes more energy to run with a stroller than without. To feel most similar to running alone, you should run with both hands on the stroller (compared to one hand or the push/chase method).
If you try running and do experience symptoms, OR feel you would like additional guidance to get back to the activities you love, the team at Breakaway Physical Therapy is here to help! Reach out to our office to schedule a FREE Breakthrough visit to speak with a pelvic floor physical therapist to address your concerns so you can get back to doing what you love!